France: trade deficit widens to 71 billion euros in the first half

The French trade deficit on goods widened to 71 billion euros over the first six months of the year, significantly degraded by the energy bill linked to the war in Ukraine, customs said on Friday.

In June alone, the trade deficit widened by 13.3 billion euros, which represents a new monthly record.

The „record” energy bill weighed down the half-yearly figures, underlines the Ministry of Foreign Trade in a press release released on Friday. This rose from 27 billion euros in the second half of 2021 to 48 billion euros in the first six months of the year.

It „explains on its own the deterioration of our trade deficit”, estimated the Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade Olivier Becht during a conference call.

Mr. Becht, who replaced Franck Riester last month in this position, recognized „a very significant deterioration” in the French trade balance over the first half of the year.

The symbolic bar of 100 billion euros in annual deficit should logically be crossed at the end of 2022. Over twelve rolling months, France already has a trade deficit of 121.9 billion euros.

The war in Ukraine has led to a surge in hydrocarbon prices, aggravated on the French trade balance by the recent depreciation of the euro against the dollar, which has made oil imports denominated in American currency more expensive.

Alexandra Taylor

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